Course information

The Essentials of Teaching Shakespeare in the Classroom

Held at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Stratford-upon-Avon base, this five-day course is designed around the needs of English, Literacy and Language Arts teachers. Each intensive course is tailor-made by RSC and Warwick Education and English practitioners.

The live performance of a play, with training linked directly to that play and production, is an essential element of the training. You will be immersed in the rehearsal process which created the production, through practical workshops with RSC artists.

The course includes a real-time research task, which will be supported by reading and digital resources, and assessed.

 Course aims

  • To provide teachers with the essential subject and pedagogic knowledge and skills to teach Shakespeare in the classroom
  • To experience practically and reflect critically on the rehearsal and ensemble based learning model
  • To model practical ways of engaging students with the language, structures, themes, characters, setting and action of  Shakespeare's plays
  • To use a live performance and dialogue with RSC artists as the principal means of discovering creative ways of teaching Shakespeare in classrooms
  • To develop artistic skills and understandings through working with RSC artists

 Read our Teaching Shakespeare core Learning Outcomes »

Course outcomes

The course will build on and extend the key strategies, skills and knowledge you will need to apply the rehearsal room approach to teaching  Shakespeare  in  your classroom.

All our courses share common Learning Outcomes based on research and our professional experience as artists, practitioners and educators. Our approach is to treat these core Learning Outcomes as a cyclical curriculum which are introduced in the Online Course.

In this one week course, the core outcomes are tackled at a more advanced level of challenge and complexity. The particular focus of this module is on the essentials of teaching Shakespeare in the classroom. We offer an alternative intensive one week course focusing on staging Shakespeare:
The Essentials of Staging and Performing Shakespeare with Children and Young People

If you progress to the MA Pathway, you will research the effect of these core objectives on your students, using the research to improve your own and the Teaching Shakespeare community’s teaching practice and results.

Course syllabus

  • Deconstructing the pedagogy of classroom as rehearsal room, drawing on theories of performance, play and learning.
  • An interpretive choices workshop with RSC actors and Director/Assistant Director to develop questioning skills for the classroom and enable confidence in interpreting character/setting/action in students.
  • A workshop with RSC Voice and Text department, to explore language as action, modelling ways of enabling students to connect with Shakespeare’s words.
  • A physical and critical exploration of the focus of the play which powerfully connects you with the play in intellectual and visceral domains.
  • Theoretical positions and tools from the field of theatre criticism which support your viewing of the live production of the focus play.
  • A design workshop to explore the world of the play and finding design from the text.
  • A workshop enabling you to research the social and historical context, original performance conditions and performance history of the play.
  • Theory building using text scraps, images from throughout the play's history, contemporary stimuli and other literary and artistic references. You'll work together in small groups to theorise the potential meanings of the play, and will be commissioned to produce a real-world outcome which makes the themes and ideas at the heart of the text visible.
  • Exploring the focus play, including complex language and character work, modelling of using edited text, comparisons with the full text and the evolution of the text as we know it today.
  • Working with a partner to plan a rehearsal-based lesson for a chosen age group. You'll be commissioned to edit a scene/speech from the focus play for use in that lesson, using teaching objectives drawn from your own assessment culture and the core objectives of Teaching Shakespeare.

Course assessment

  • Moderated participation log (20%)
  • Assessed group planning and presentation (30%)
  • Critical Response Paper (50%)

Introduction - The Essentials of Teaching Shakespeare in the Classroom »
FAQs - The Essentials of Teaching Shakespeare in the Classroom »


If you have any questions about Teaching Shakespeare, please read the FAQs for the Accredited Courses or The Essentials Online. If your query isn't answered there, contact us.

Teaching Shakespeare
c/o RSC Education
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
CV37 6BB

Tel: +44 (0) 1789 403432

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